Plant potatoes, onions, lettuce and spinach.
This year plan to grow at least one new vegetable or vegetable variety that you’ve never grown before; it may end up being the tastiest thing in the garden! Go to bonnieplants.com for ideas.
Dormant asparagus crowns without any green shoots should be planted in beds enriched with organic matter such as compost, manure or shredded leaves.
Now is an excellent time to transplant mature or established trees and shrubs while they are dormant.
It is also an excellent time to select and plant container-grown roses to fill in those bare spots in your rose garden.
Plant dahlia tubers in late February and early March.
It is not too early to begin planting and/or dividing established perennials.
Start perennials from seed.
It is not too late to do a soil sample! The sooner the sample is submitted, the better.
Apply a light application of fertilizer to established pansy plantings. As a rule of thumb, use one-half pound of ammonium sulfate per 100 square feet of bed area.
Feed hardy palms late this month. Use a product labeled specifically for palm trees. It should contain manganese, iron and potassium. Some products also contain systemic insecticides.
Fertilize camellias and azaleas. Refresh the mulch layer around azaleas to protect their shallow root systems from drying out.
Feed cool-season lawns, but not warm-season grasses.
Fertilize fruit trees as soon as possible after the ground thaws, but before blooming.
Don’t fertilize newly planted trees or shrubs until after they have started to grow … and then only very lightly the first year.
As the new green foliage of spring-blooming bulbs poke up in the garden, it is time to fertilize. These plants are dormant during the summer months when most fertilizer applications are made. An application of 10-10-10, or any general fertilizer, provides these plants with the nutrients they need to increase in size to provide more flowers next spring.
Apply half of the fertilizer recommended for grapes late this month; apply the other half soon after fruit sets.
Feed houseplants with liquid of soluble fertilizer according to manufacturer’s directions when signs of growth appear.
Give shrubs a late-winter shape up. Prune branches to reduce height or direct growth. Thin the twiggy growth from the interior of shrubs. Prune spring-blooming shrubs after flowering.
Many trees can be pruned now. Wait to prune spring-flowering trees until after they flower.
Prune fruit trees and grapes in late February after the worst of the winter cold has passed, but before spring growth begins. For fruit trees, contact the cooperative Extension office to learn how to prune to enhance fruit yield.
Prune bush roses during February or early March. Use good shears that will make clean cuts. Remove dead, dying and weak canes. Leave four to eight healthy canes, and remove approximately one-half of the top growth and height of the plant.
Prune liriope (monkey grass) before new growth appears. Use a lawn mower or string trimmer to make quick work of this task. With the mower, adjust the height to remove old growth and use the grass-catcher attachment to eliminate raking.
If overwintered coleus has become leggy and gangly-looking, clip off the ends to take cuttings and root them to produce short, stocky plants for planting in the spring.
Hanging baskets of philodendrons, piggyback plants or pothos may have leaves clustered at the ends of their stems. Cut them all the way back to the rim of the pot. During the new growth they will trail back down the sides of the pot. Use the trimmings to root new plants.
Take cuttings from indoor, overwintered geraniums to root.
Believe it or not, if you have a warm-season lawn you might need a little water this month. If there is an extended dry period during the winter (four or more weeks), adding 1 inch of water (on a warm day, of course) will help the soil retain heat and may help prevent injury to cold-sensitive grasses.
Water newly planted trees, shrubs, vines and roses at planting, keeping the soil moist but not excessively wet.
Water containerized plants only when needed and not by the calendar.
Irrigate winter annuals and dry soil areas as needed.
If a freeze is forecast, well-watered roots are less susceptible to freeze damage.
Lightly water forced bulbs to keep potting mix moist.
I know it sounds mighty early, but some of the extended-protection broadcast fire ant treatments require a two-week period after 2 inches of irrigation to begin protecting your lawn. Applying those products from now until the end of the month will have them active and ready for the ants by the time they begin to "pop up."
Spray horticultural oil on tree fruits and other landscape plants prone to disease and insect attack. Apply before leaves appear and when temperatures will not dip to freezing within four hours of spraying. The oil simply covers the tree and suffocates the insects, and it also helps inhibit sporulation of some diseases.
Weeds will be readily apparent in dormant, warm-season lawns. Dig or spot-spray offenders with an herbicide that won’t kill grass.
Check junipers and other narrow-leaf evergreens for bagworm pouches. The insect eggs overwinter in the pouch, and start the cycle again by emerging in the spring to begin feeding on the foliage. Hand removal of the pouches is the best way of reducing the potential damage next spring.
It may seem early to begin controlling summer weeds, but crabgrass and other warm-season weed seeds begin to germinate as soil temperatures rise. By applying pre-emergent or preventative herbicides mid- to late-February, these weeds are killed as they emerge. Wait too late and these products are no longer effective.
Spray for fire blight on pears, apples and fruiting quince.
Watch for aphids, scale insects and mites on forced bulbs and houseplants. Insecticidal soap is usually enough to knock them out.
Make flower and vegetable garden plans now before the rush of spring planting. Time spent in armchair gardening before the fireplace will pay off in improved plant selection.
Use a gardening journal to help plan the color and landscaping of your garden and yard. It is easier to erase than to move plants.
Branches of forsythia, pussy willow, quince, spirea and dogwood can be forced for indoor bloom. Make long, slanted cuts when collecting the branches and place the stems in a vase of water. Change the water every four days. They should bloom in about three weeks.
Check all five growing factors if your houseplants are not growing well. Light, temperature, nutrients, moisture and humidity must be favorable to provide good growth.
Check any vegetables, bulbs, tubers and corms you have in storage. Dispose of any showing signs of shriveling or rotting.
Don’t remove mulch from perennials too early. A couple of warm days in a row may make you think spring is here, but … it’s not!
For longest vase life, gather daffodil blooms for bouquets just as buds start to show color.
If you’ve been feeding birds, continue to do so. Birds become reliant on certain food supplies in the fall, so if that supply disappears they can go hungry.
Late February is a good time to air layer such houseplants as dracaena, dieffenbachia and rubber plant, especially if they have grown too tall and leggy.
Now is an excellent time to start some of those garden hammer-and-nail projects you’ve been wanting to do – window boxes, planters, bird houses, arbors, sheds, cold frames, etc.
Order perennial plants and bulbs now for cut flowers this summer.
Order gladiolus corms now for planting later in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. Locate in full sun in well-drained soil. When they arrive, stagger planting dates for a longer bloom season.
It is a good time to organize your work area and supplies in preparation for work later in the month and following months.
When soil can be worked, turn under last fall’s cover crops. Never work wet soil – this will cause it to become hard, compacted and unproductive.
Solarize (process of covering with clear plastic in order to smother existing weeds) freshly tilled beds.
Add compost and top-dressing mulch to all unhealthy soil areas.
Turn the compost pile regularly.
Change oil in your mower and sharpen blades for cleaner cut. (Improves health of grass.)
Calibrate your spreader to insure proper disbursement.
Continue to clean up any remaining leaves, frozen plants, debris, etc. (including those in the water garden).
Install a water garden when the ground can be worked.
Check the tender aquatic plants overwintered indoors. Make sure they are still covered with water.
Gardening equipment/tools, gardening books, subscriptions to a gardening magazine, potted plants, trees, shrubs or cut flowers make excellent, non-fattening, Valentine gifts!